Monday, June 17, 2019

Birthright BBQ Festival, Dallas Heritage Village, Dallas

Another Sunday of nasty weather in Dallas but a wonderful event went on when the weather cleared just before showtime.  This was the second annual Birthright BBQ Festival benefiting Dallas Heritage Village.  In keeping with the historical nature of the venue, this event features old style Texas BBQ cooked in cinder block pits, an old smokehouse in the park, and modern smoke trailers.  It is a decidedly different type of BBQ Fest and definitely a lot of fun.  Mrs O. and our friend John joined me.
Showtime was scheduled for 5 pm for VIP entrants, but at 3 pm a heavy line of thunderstorms moved through DFW.  We're talking severe thunderstorm warnings, tornado warnings, high straight line winds of 60 mph plus, and rain coming down in buckets.  That was in addition to another heavy line that moved through much earlier in the morning, around 3 am.  We got 2.4 inches of rain at our house, and I suspect the cooks had to endure at least that much, if not more.  Kudos to all the cooks and helpers that kept the fires going and the meat smoking under the most trying of circumstances.  Your hard work paid off.
We arrived a little before 5 pm and found only 6 or 7 folks in front of us in line.  They announced, several times, that they were in the process of moving everything inside, so they would be a little late.  They were only about 10 minutes late in opening for the VIPs.  Only light sprinkles marred the fest, but the grounds were pretty soggy from the deluge that had just ended.  Folks began to line up behind us, some in full rain gear, waiting for the fun to begin.
After attending last year, I had decided early on to head straight to the air-conditioned pavilion to stake out our places.  When they opened the gates, we did just that, stopping only long enough to grab a beer from a Four Corners Brewery tent.  I grabbed this one, and that was my go-to for the rest of the fest.  Good stuff.
Inside it was nice to see 4 of the vendors were set up inside.  That made for an easy pick-up of food without much running around.
As often happens, everyone immediately got in Aaron Franklin's line, so we went everywhere else!!  That proved to be a good plan.  As they waited, we got the other 3 samples in the pavilion and started to chow down.  The first sample I got from Cattleack was a big disappointment.  The brisket was badly undercooked and I literally could not pull a slice apart.  I am a big fan of Cattleack and I figured that was an aberration, maybe due to cooking in the bad weather.  That proved to be correct when getting additional slices, which were excellent.  Loved their brisket, just not that first sample.
One of the other places inside was Smokey John's BBQ serving some great spicy sausage.  Their sausage was one of our favorites at this fest last year and it was excellent again this year.  Their sausage was a little wet and was leaking all over me on my first link.  On succeeding links (and there were several) I grabbed a piece of bread they had thoughtfully provided and made it into a nice link sandwich.  The bread soaked up the extra grease and I was able to enjoy their excellent sausage without the mess.
The third spot inside was shared by Flores BBQ from Fort Worth and Valentina's in Austin.  They served up some great cabrito tacos and a snarfed down about 3 of those, too.
With the line still silly at Franklin's stop, I headed over to the other inside stations in another building about 100 feet away from the pavilion.  Buxton Hall was offering pulled pork from whole pigs, and Feges BBQ from Houston was offering pit cooked lamb tacos with corn.  Both were mighty tasty, but I only had one sample of each.
Just before they let in the 800 general admission folks, I made it over to Aaron Franklin and Evan Leroy's station to sample some of the whole steer they had cooked on their cinder block pit.  Of course, with a whole steer to go through, every visit to that station got different pieces of the steer.  Some was sliced, some was chopped, they had a real mixed bag.  I got the chopped beef with extra cilantro and it was tasty.  I did not go back for more, instead I grabbed a bit more from the other 3 spots in the pavilion, just as the general admission hordes descended.
It only took a few minutes, but soon there were several hundred folks in line for the Franklin/Leroy & Lewis station.  Even though a volunteer went down the line telling folks there were 3 other stations inside and 2 more behind them, most just stood there, waiting their turn.  That meant it was still easy to get brisket, cabrito tacos, and sausage, so I did!
For dessert, Slow Bone BBQ was offering up fried peach pies, blueberry cake, and ice cream.  I had BBQ for dessert, but my Mrs and our friend liked it.  They even split another sample on the way out.
I ran into Daniel Vaughn several times and even J.C. Reid from the Houston BBQ Festival.
The pitmasters, crews, and the Heritage Village volunteers did an amazing job keeping this great event going despite two nasty Summer thunderstorms.  I'm two for two at this fest and I hope not to miss any in the future!

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Green's Texas Bar-B-Que, Euless

Finally got a chance to visit this local spot this morning.  I used to see Don Green all the time at North Main BBQ back when Hubert and Dolly ran the place.  I had a taste at the Bedford Blues Festival last year, when they won the people's choice award in the Battle of the BBQ.  Since then, they have established a regular corner on Euless Blvd at Vine Street and have even drawn praise from Daniel Vaughn.
There were just two folks in front of me at opening but folks continued to arrive as I waited for my order.  I had to try the Brisket Biscuits, of course, and added some pork belly bites.  Then the usual trinity of fatty brisket, ribs (baby back), and sausage. All of it was scrumptious.
The fried biscuit dough was flaky and light and I added a bit of sauce after the first bite.
The pork belly bites were perfect. Melt in your mouth fat with just enough meat to make you want to have a bunch more.

The brisket was a bit overcooked.  I could not pick up a slice without it breaking under its own weight.  This was despite the relatively thick, 1/2 inch, slices.  There was some excellent smoke flavor and good moisture.  The sausage had a nice jalapeno bite.  Much better than any sausage I ever had at North Main.
The baby back ribs had that great North Main flavor I have enjoyed for years.  Tenderness was spot on and left a perfect bite mark.

I think I have a new favorite local spot.  I'll need another visit or two to make sure.  I just wish they had more hours than 11 am to 3 pm on Saturday

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Smoked Dallas tickets on sale now

Always a fun fest with good joints.  They don't have a list out yet, but we already have tickets.  We haven't missed one yet!